Ancient Aymara Burial Towers

Ancient Aymara Burial Towers

This fall, when I travel to Peru, one of the places I hope to visit is Sillustani, near the shores of Lake Titicaca roughly between Juliaca and Puno. When I arrive in Puno by bus from Arequipa, I will have a couple of days to adjust to the 12,500-foot (3,810 meters) altitude around the lake. On one of those days, I hope to take a half day tour to visit the chullpas at Sillustani. These are Aymara burial towers, presumably for noble families, of the pre-Inca Aymara people who lived here.

One of the things I am beginning to learn is that Peru consists of many more pre-Columbian peoples than just the Incas. Before 1400, the Incas were a relatively small tribe who created a large empire, largely due to Pachacuti, a.k.a. Yupanqui, whose reign rapidly spread north to Ecuador and south to Chile.

Below are two local indigenous women photographed at Sillustani:

Two Aymara or Quechua Women

Two Aymara or Quechua Women Working on Their Handicrafts

Notice the spindles in their hands. From what I understand, both men and women spend much of their spare time creating the textiles for which the area is famous.